South Sydney's hopes of making the NRL top four were dealt a double blow with a 32-18 loss to the Canterbury Bulldogs and an injury to captain Greg Inglis in Sydney.
The Bulldogs sounded a warning to every side above them on rugby league's NRL Premiership ladder with the powerful and clinical dismantling of the premiers.
Skipper Greg Inglis limped off with a knee injury 10 minutes from time.
The match was out of the Rabbitohs' reach by then anyway following an ominous display from the Bulldogs, who outmuscled a South Sydney pack in the middle just a week after Souths had done the same to the Cowboys.
Halfback Trent Hodkinson controlled the game superbly while prop Sam Kasiano was arguably the pick of an impressive forward pack, matching his silky ball skills with some damaging runs and tackles.
The win all but guarantees the Bulldogs a finals berth and keeps them in with an outside chance of scraping into the top four.